"I’ve lived in San Francisco, Washington DC and New York City; Chicago is the most livable city I have ever been in."
David Smith II stepped into FDM Group’s New York City Careers Program for the first time as a trainee in early June, 2013. I’m not sure if at the time he imagined that he was a few short months from starting a new life 800 miles away, but Chicago was in his future. It wasn’t long before his interview with Accuity Solutions earned him a placement in the Windy City and come September, David had completed his Java Development training and was on his way west.
Every trainee who steps into the New York City office has a decision to make – to be geographically flexible or to stay local with their placements. Those who opt for geographical flexibility open themselves up to a world of opportunity that most trainees who choose to stay local never experience. There are more consulting roles when you keep your flexibility open, often times making it easier to earn your first placement. There are a variety of roles around the country that you just won’t find in the Tri-State area. And then, of course, there’s the travel - the opportunity to explore the world. David never would have discovered his love for Chicago had he not been open to adventure.
FDM’s goal is to place every single trainee on site in a role that is perfect for them – some of them are lucky enough to explore new places in the process.
"When you’re moving into a new city you have to put yourself out there. Treat it like an adventure and try new things."
Starting a new life in a new city can be intimidating, but David’s advice about putting yourself out there cannot be more true. You can meet incredible people and cultivate extraordinary experiences – you just have to take the adventure for what it is.
“I meet a lot of people through special interest groups and Meetups,” David told me about the friends he’s made in Chicago. “I’m big into gaming so I compete in weekly fighting game tournaments in Avondale, plus there are a number of arcades and barcades in the city I go to as well!”
"You hear a lot of things about Chicago. Fortunately, people in Chicago are very friendly and sociable."
When you move to a place you’ve never been before, there can be a lot to worry about. Is the city really the way others describe it? Are all of the great things they say about Chicago true? What about the negative stereotypes? You can never know what to expect until you actually go someplace to experience it on your own, but the FDM consultants who are placed around the country always come back to tell us how great the people are in their new home.
While meeting new people may not have been a big worry for David, there were other concerns. FDM, however, is always there to help you every step of the way.
“My biggest concern was my search for an apartment. Fortunately I was in Chicago a few weeks before my first day of work and FDM provided me with a few weeks stay at a hotel, so I had plenty of time to search.”
"The food is amazing!"
David told me that one of the best parts of the two years he’s spent living in Chicago has been the incredible Midwest cuisine.
“Chicago is known for the Chicago style pizza, Italian beef sandwiches and doughnuts. There are more microbreweries than I can even count!”
Every city FDM sends a person to for consulting roles has its own charm. For David, it’s all about the food. Deep-dish pizza so thick you need to eat it with a fork and knife. Italian sausage so delicious you’ll never want to try it from another city again. And sometimes, it all comes together in ways you could only dream about.
“Chicago has tons of food festivals in the summer, the most famous one being The Tastes of Chicago where some of the biggest restaurants showcase their food in a fair-like setting,” he told me. “Along with The Taste of Chicago there are also incredible food festivals from other neighborhoods around the city.”
"You don’t want to limit your opportunities."
When it comes down to it, David said he would definitely recommend FDM trainees opt to be geographically flexible. There are so many experiences waiting to be had throughout the United States, limiting yourself to one small region can be a missed opportunity.
Read more stories about Consultants who have taken a placement outside of New York City:
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License
15 July, 2015